To what extent can a socio-ecological system (both human and natural) withstand or recover from severe external shocks? SECORES, the network for socio-ecological resilience, brings together like-minded organisations to turn the abstract concept into concrete action.
In 2020-2021, Join For Water updated its strategy to ‘the protection and conservation of freshwater resources’, a translation of the holistic concept of ‘resilience of socio-ecological systems’. That concept, of which the Stockholm Resilience Centre is pioneer, puts resilience first: to what extent can ‘the system’ of humans and nature withstand or recover from external shocks? Such external shocks are many, both natural and human: earthquakes, cyclones, droughts, and floods, but also conflicts, epidemics, and so on. Needless to mention that climate change, intensive land use for agriculture and mining and loss of biodiversity, among others, put additional pressure on that resilience.
In 2022, Join For Water, together with 5 Belgian organisations, founded the network SECORES: Social-Ecological Resilience Network. Besides Join For Water (specialising in water), the members are currently BOS+ (forest management), CEBioS (biodiversity), WWF Belgium (nature conservation), Uni4Coop (mangroves) and VIA Don Bosco (education and youth mobilisation).
Our network aims to integrate the concept of socio-environmental resilience into Belgian international cooperation. To this end, we work on three axes: (a) strengthening knowledge about socio-environmental resilience; (b) putting the theme higher on the political agenda; and (c) encouraging actors to work together on the theme. The intention is to build out the network with as many like-minded organisations who integrate aspects of resilience in their operations as possible, both in Belgium and in our partner countries. Together, we are learning how to put the abstract concept into practice in specific environments. This includes not only natural areas, but also landscapes with intensive agriculture or cities and urbanised landscapes where the tension between humans and nature is very high.
In its first year of existence, SECORES participated in several events such as the 2nd International Conference on Biodiversity in the Congo Basin in March 2023. We organised workshops for Belgian actors and their international partners in Uganda, Burundi and RD Congo. We are also working on the comparison of methods to analyse and measure resilience on the ground: for example, how do you determine resilience once you are in the middle of a river basin, a forest or a city? In the coming years, we intend to delve further into such issues with our partners.
For more information about SECORES, go to https://secores.org/